In the early hours of a Saturday morning, our client was driving home after a night out. He was driving from North Scottsdale to his home in Gilbert. About midway through his drive, he made an incorrect turn and began heading westbound on the 202. Not realizing his mistake, he continued driving west, away from his home. A concerned citizen called 911, citing what they believed to be a “drunk driver,” almost causing multiple accidents and weaving across all lanes of traffic. The 911 caller then reported that he had crashed his BMW head-on into a crash attenuator where the westbound 202 transitions to the westbound I-10.
A DPS trooper arrived on the scene and found our client sitting in the driver’s seat of his totaled BMW, blocking the HOV lane. He didn’t appear to suffer any serious injuries and was medically cleared by the fire department. The DPS trooper noticed an odor of alcohol coming from our client and stated that he appeared to be dazed and confused. The trooper questioned him about where he was going and realized he had not been traveling in the right direction to get home. Our client admitted to having “a few” drinks, later admitting to drinking scotch and vodka throughout the night. He performed the field sobriety tests, allegedly failing all three, including HGN (horizontal gaze nystagmus), walk and turn, and one-leg stand. He was taken to the police station, where he submitted to an intoxilyzer test. Both of his breath tests resulted in a BAC of .097. Our client was cited with DUI for having a BAC above .08 and for being impaired to the slightest degree.
Rather than accepting a plea offer from the state prosecutor, we chose to fight the case at trial. We were able to win a favorable ruling on a pretrial motion, which prevented the prosecutor from playing the 911 call recording to the jury, by arguing that it violated our client’s right to confront his accusers. This kept the highly prejudicial 911 call, which detailed our client’s alleged bad driving, out of court altogether. We then cross-examined the state’s witnesses, including the DPS trooper and the state’s crime lab expert, to discredit the field sobriety tests and intoxilyzer results. Additionally, we called a defense expert to testify on the unreliability of the Intoxilyzer 8000 machine. Our client also testified that his accident was not caused by his alcohol consumption, but rather his lack of sleep and avoidance of a collision with another aggressive driver.
In the end, we were able to entirely break down the prosecutor’s case and obtain a not guilty verdict on all charges. Our client walked away with a clean criminal and driving record.